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RAC Report on Motoring 2008 - Society


Twenty years ago, the first RAC Report on Motoring¹ was published. Since then, the RAC Report has become widely regarded as the voice of Britain's motorists.

In celebration of its twentieth year, three special RAC Reports on Motoring will be published in the course of 2008, of which this is the first.

Drawing on 20 years of the Report, new research amongst Britain's motorists, official Government statistics and various other sources, this first 2008 RAC Report on Motoring provides a definitive picture of how motoring in Britain has changed over the last 20 years.

Executive Summary

There are a series of key findings in the report, which are contained below:

  • There are more drivers, more cars and more traffic, yet less road space now compared with 20 years ago.
  • 92% of motorists think we are more dependent on our cars and more car focused than in 1988.
  • Today we have safer cars that we feel more comfortable in and that are also more reliable.
  • There has been an increase in aggressive driving with one in three motorists saying they have been a victim of road rage or aggressive driving 'to the extent that they have felt physically threatened', that's nearly 10 million of us.
  • 60% of motorists point to the "cost of motoring" as one of the biggest changes over the past 20 years. Yet this report finds that the cost of motoring has dropped in real terms.
  • The last 20 years have seen a jump in the number of motoring offences.
  • 66% of motorists accept 30mph speed restrictions on local, urban roads. However, over half of drivers now believe that the speed limit on motorways should be increased to 80mph.
  • The strength of opposition to drink driving is hardening amongst Britain's motorists, with 76% supporting a reduction in the drink drive limit from the present 80mg to 50mg.
  • Almost twice as many motorists now use buses, coaches and trams compared with 1988, and the use of trains by motorists has increased by 56%.
  • 72% of motorists underline the pressing need for improvements and investments in public transport, if they are to make the shift from their cars.

This Report explores in greater detail the changes that have occurred over the last 20 years, whilst also looking at how we can make the next 20 years of motoring more sustainable.

Top 3 changes in motoring:

  • Increased cost of motoring (60%)
  • More aggressive driving (34%)
  • Speed cameras (29%)

Top 3 changes in cars:

  • Improved safety (59%)
  • Improvements in technology (44%)
  • Increased reliability (43%)

Top 3 changes in use of cars:

  • More reliant on the car for more journeys (48%)
  • More reliant on the car for pleasure e.g. day trips (43%)
  • More shorter journeys (33%)